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Old 09-19-2020, 03:08 PM   #1
New Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Tempe, AZ
Posts: 9
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TS FE 2509
Engine: Cummins 5.9 24V
Rated Cap: NBR BODIES = 6
Meet Orwell from Tempe, AZ

Meet Orwell from Tempe, Arizona!!

We are very excited to join the Skoolie Community!!

We are a couple in our late 40’s and early 50’s, gradually became obsessed with watching YouTube Skoolie conversion videos over dinner.. We have always wanted to live away from the city in a self sustainable manner but never were able to find the right community or make the transition from the “job and the paycheck” to the land. Now that kids are independent we are ready for the change! We saw how other people could do it via the “Bus Route”, looked at each other and said: are we too young for this, let’s see where this journey takes us, so we bought our first bus - Orwell..

We looked at out of state auctions, internet adds and decided to go local - Canyon State Bus Sales in Glendale AZ. It was only around 113F that Friday afternoon and inside the buses probably 150 degrees, so our look around was brief. We were interested at 5 window minis but the ones available had the Powerstroke 6.0 with around 113.000 miles. I knew I wanted a Cummins/Allison drivetrain and the agent pointed to a couple of 2000 BB TC1000’s, she said they were a pretty rare size about 26’ and we were intrigued, my wife said: I like it..! It took us less than a minute inside for both of us to exclaim simultaneously: We want this bus, can we get it today, babe..?! I looked at the engine, looked perfect for its age, bus inside clean, no rust, everything underneath lubricated and clean I thought wow, these people at Deer Valley School District, maintained the thing well.. We paid, signed paperwork and drove off, the hazy heat of the I-17 swallowed us away, back south to Tempe. Both AC’s blasting I was sweating like a rookie, even though I drive a 26’ International for Fedex Ground, my day job, this was after all my first school bus drive!

What happened on the way home I will have to address in the next post..



Lora, Ivo and Orwell
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Old 09-19-2020, 03:58 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jul 2019
Location: California, Bay Area
Posts: 669
Welcome to the forum

Love the short flatnosed buses, excited to see what you do with it!



Is it an 8 or a 9 window?
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Old 09-19-2020, 05:00 PM   #3
New Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Tempe, AZ
Posts: 9
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TS FE 2509
Engine: Cummins 5.9 24V
Rated Cap: NBR BODIES = 6
Thank you Dzl..
It has 9 windows; I guess I should include that in the bus description, I'm super new to the forum and still adjusting to the layout..
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Old 09-19-2020, 09:13 PM   #4
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Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 202
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Blue Bird All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Rated Cap: 2 adults and two pigeons
Hiya from Mesa! We just got our bus at AAA a couple weeks ago. I met Sarah at Glendale. She was really nice to work with. Threw me the keys to a bus and off I went on a test drive. She didn't have what I wanted so thats kind of where it ended. Regarding the 113º heat, Yep, I drove mine in those temps too with no working a/c. Enjoy your build. Maybe we can compare notes!
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Found my Bus at AAAbus in Phx!
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Old 09-20-2020, 12:28 AM   #5
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Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Tempe, AZ
Posts: 9
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TS FE 2509
Engine: Cummins 5.9 24V
Rated Cap: NBR BODIES = 6
Absolutely Simon..!

Sarah, yes. Same experience here. We had a few hiccups with our bus though, for which I need to blame myself only. Not being able to take time off of my job at Fedex on a whim didn't help either. We drove off with ammeter reading somewhere around 9 volts, she said it's probably not reading right, we put brand new batteries yesterday, I trusted and left. With both AC's blasting and alternator not charging I reached O'Reillys in Tempe with ZERO volts after multiple beeps and instrument panel completely dead. I prayed that diesels didn't need electricity to run... Shut it off and had to wait a day for batteries they didn't have in stock. Put new batteries, a friend drove it back to Glendale for me and they fixed some bad ground wiring for free and ta da alternator charging and everything ok, sans the radiator fan which performed beautifully when I drove off the first time. You will nor believe what the reason was...!!! I waited three weeks for my mechanic to get back from Europe, being afraid to drive it anywhere in the heat and not having anyone else to look at it, called a few shops including Canyon State, they all quoted me north of 1K for the clutch alone. I had the gut feeling it was something small, electrical, something the shop disconnected or misconnected.. Today I drove it to downtown Phoenix and as I was waiting for my friend to open his shop I just couldn't stop staring at what appears to be the diagnostics terminal/connector with its cap hanging free and not connected to the terminal just left/down of the steering column/ I forgot to take a picture/ and a little switch saying "diagnostic On/Off". I screwed the cap back to the coupling and flipped the switch back to off. Started the already hot 5.9 and my jaws dropped seeing the fan spinning..!! Interestingly the engine temp on the way there stayed in the middle the entire 15 miles trip at 80 degrees ambient at 55 mph on the freeway without the fan working with just minor fluctuations idling at the few red lights. I have no idea how my friend drove the bus back from their shop without the fan at 113F that day... I don't know what to say.. I am the fool who doesn't check the mechanic's work!

Today Orwell passed emissions stellarly but I feel engine warms up too much and fan does not kick in right away. Sometimes it engages at much lower temp reading and sometimes at much higher. I need the cooling system checked by a Cummins pro! Thermostat, temp sensor, who knows what is off.. Sorry for the lengthy response.. I just needed to vent this out..

It would be great to compare notes some day! We will be painting soon, then focus on a Sketchup design to see what our space can offer..
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Old 09-20-2020, 04:01 PM   #6
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Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Mesa, AZ
Posts: 202
Year: 2003
Coachwork: Blue Bird All American
Engine: 8.3 Cummins
Rated Cap: 2 adults and two pigeons
Are you having a shop paint the bus? I want to have mine done professionally in some two tone color. I just had my bus titled as an RV. So with that done and registered/plated, I began stripping the interior today. Floor is out and so are the side walls after chiseling out all the rivets with an air hammer. Went extremely well. (I now prefer rivets to screws for the speed in removal!) Yeah, these buses will need to be gone through before a long trip. My bus already had a new fan clutch and hydraulics done to it before I bought it. Had the shop replace a weeping transmission yoke seal and fix some gauges. All in all, I am happy with my bus. Just wish it had underbelly storage. One more thing for me to fabricate before the roof raise and off to paint.
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Found my Bus at AAAbus in Phx!
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Old 09-20-2020, 06:44 PM   #7
New Member
 
Join Date: Aug 2020
Location: Tempe, AZ
Posts: 9
Year: 2000
Coachwork: Bluebird
Chassis: TS FE 2509
Engine: Cummins 5.9 24V
Rated Cap: NBR BODIES = 6
Wow, Simon that's amazing..!!

No professional shop for us, a few rollers and a few gallons of rustoleum.

On the RV registration, we are having hard time finding information, how didi you do it..? Sarah told us they could only do commercial, $433 for a year. Did we miss something..?

Sounds like you are on top of things!! Raised roof, how much height are you gaining and how long will it take you..?! It sounds like a lot of work..!

Wow..!
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